Initial Vulkan Performance On macOS With Dota 2 Is Looking Very Good

Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 1 June 2018 at 05:37 PM EDT. 25 Comments
Yesterday Valve released Vulkan support for Dota 2 on macOS. Indeed, this first major game relying upon MoltenVK for mapping Vulkan over the Apple Metal drivers is delivering performance gains.

I have begun some tests of macOS vs. Linux with Dota 2 on Vulkan while also taking the opportunity for some other fresh Linux vs. macOS benchmarks and potentially tossing Windows 10 in the mix too.

For those curious how the Vulkan performance over MoltenVK is performing relative to the default OpenGL renderer, I have those very preliminary numbers available today.

Tests were done on macOS High Sierra with a MacBook Pro having Radeon Pro 450 graphics.

Vulkan is indeed offering a significant performance boost over OpenGL, even when factoring in the Vulkan implementation is further abstracted due to MoltenVK. It will certainly be interesting to see how these numbers compare to the Linux Vulkan drivers and OpenGL too for that matter.

The CPU usage difference isn't as clear unlike some Vulkan Linux games where there is a great deal of CPU savings, but at least with Dota 2 on macOS with Vulkan at the higher resolutions there does appear to be a slight savings on the CPU.

Some other Dota 2 Vulkan/OpenGL runs on macOS can be found via this result file. Stay tuned for the real interesting metrics in the days ahead as part of the fun Phoronix birthday benchmarking. Even if you don't use or care about macOS yourself, seeing this level of performance out of a MoltenVK-based solution is good news and will hopefully lead other game studios to make use of Vulkan on Mac too... That in turn leads to a greater Vulkan ecosystem and ideally benefiting Linux gaming too.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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